Jun 7, 2010

Former Italian American Player: Dario Lodigiani (1938-1946)

Dario Antonio Lodigiani was born on June 6, 1919 in San Francisco California. Dario was one of the many Italian American players to come out of the San Francisco Bay area in the 1930’s.

While still in junior high his double play partner was Joe DiMaggio. By the time he reached high school he was a an All Star in baseball, football, & basketball. He was drafted right into the AAA level of baseball at 19 years old & two years later debuted with the Philadelphia Athletics. Lodigiani & his childhood friend DiMaggio made it to the big leagues together, remaining friends & going to their respective careers.

He was primarily a second baseman & third baseman with superior fielding range, posting fielding percentages that put him among the leagues best. In his rookie year he batted .280 with 6 HRs 15 doubles & 44 RBIs, playing in 93 games. He would also be in the leagues top five in hit by pitches three times.

He dropped to a .260 average the next year playing in a career high 121 games, matching the same 6 HR 44 RBI totals as the previous year. After playing in only one game in 1940, at Christmas time he was traded to the Chicago White Sox. He slumped to .239 but brought his average back up to .280 in 1942 but didn’t hit anymore career HRs.

In 1943 he went into the Air Force and served in World War II. He got married the following year and was discharged in 1945. He returned briefly to the White Sox but elbow injuries shortened his big league career at age 30.

He went back to the Pacific Coast League, becoming a local hero once again. First with the Oakland Oaks, batting .300 both seasons & winning a championship there. He played under Casey Stengel & then Lefty O’Doul with the San Francisco Seals, again batting over .300 twice. In his six year NLB career he hit .260 with 16 HRs 71 doubles 156 RBIs while posting a .948 fielding percentage.

After his playing days he scouted for the White Sox for 30 years from 1957-1987. He also coached in Cleveland & with the Kansas City A’s. He was always looking for new talent, spending 73 years in organized baseball. Lodigiani appeared in many ESPN documentaries about ex-ball players. He lived until 91 years old, passing in 2006.

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